‘Bob Dylan: The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration’: Television review

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‘Bob Dylan: The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration’: Television review

Posted on: March 6th, 2014 by tommyj

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  Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton at Dylan’s 30th anniversary concert, running on PBS Friday.

Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton at Dylan’s 30th anniversary concert, running on PBS Friday.

BOB DYLAN fan or not, it would be hard not to enjoy the 1992 Madison Square Garden concert celebrating his music.

George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, Stevie Wonder, John Mellencamp and a buffet of other artists gathered that night, and this special cherry-picks some of the best performances.

It’s even worth sitting through the PBS pledge breaks to hear all of them.

Like any three-hour show, there were higher and lower points. This production occasionally omits a great number, like the Clancy Brothers’ “When the Ship Comes In,” to include the higher-profile rockers.

That’s all right, mama. There are no clunkers here, from Neil Young’s searing “All Along the Watchtower” to Harrison’s “Absolutely Sweet Marie.”

Mary Chapin Carpenter, Rosanne Cash and Shawn Colvin provide a nice changeup with their folksy country version of “You Ain’t Going Nowhere,” and Wonder’s reprise of “Blowin’ in the Wind,” with which he scored a hit in the 1960s, underscores the flexibility of Dylan’s writing.

In some ways the best performance all night is the opener, Mellencamp singing “Like a Rolling Stone.”

He looks so exuberant, so completely thrilled to be at this show singing this song, that he lifts the whole night.

Dylan himself joins the show late, as he did at the Garden, for a round-robin version of “My Back Pages” with Clapton, Young, Petty and Roger McGuinn. After Dylan takes his turn, he has Harrison do the last verse, a nice subtle reflection of their mutual respect.

The production and sound are good enough so they almost leap off the screen and out of the speakers.

If any of the young folks ever ask why we old-timers revere Dylan, this show provides a nice concise explanation.

dhinckley@nydailynews.com

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